The Seahawks lost an important piece of their offensive line Friday when left tackle George Fant went down with a knee injury that will cause him to miss the 2017 season, but now they have no choice but to turn their attention to what's next for that position group.
Offensive line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable met with the media following Tuesday's practice to talk about what the Seahawks might do at left tackle, as well as where things stand at a few other spots. Here are five things we learned from Cable's press conference.
1. Rees Odhiambo and Matt Tobin will compete at left tackle.
Rees Odhiambo took over for Fant after Friday's injury, and the 2016 third-round pick appears to be the leader at that spot for now, but he'll have to hold off a challenge from newcomer Matt Tobin, who was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday. Cable said Odhiambo will get the start in Friday's preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Free-agent addition Luke Joeckel also remains an option, but the Seahawks would prefer to keep him at left guard.
"There's a couple of (options), you know," Cable said. "You got Rees, who will go out there on Friday. You got the kid we just traded for, Matt Tobin. You got Luke Joeckel."
Rookie Ethan Pocic won't be in the mix at left tackle, however. Instead, the Seahawks want to see Pocic develop at the three interior line positions.
"I see him in a lot of places; specifically though at those inside three," Cable said. "Right now, we spent most early time working at tackle, but we need to get him dialed in. There's a good opportunity for him this week at center because Joey [Hunt] is a little nicked-up."
2. The Seahawks would prefer to keep the rest of the line intact if possible.
While Joeckel is a viable option at left tackle, having spent most of his career there before moving to guard in 2016, the Seahawks would prefer to find a different answer at tackle and keep Joeckel at left guard.
One reason for that is that the Seahawks simply like what they have seen out of Joeckel at guard so far in camp and the preseason.
"I don't know if there's anyone like him, and it's a cool thing to plug a person in who can be one-on-one as dominant in both run and pass, and he's showed it both times out (in the preseason games)," Cable said. "It's pretty cool. He had a wonderful practice today, it's good."
But the other reason for not moving Joeckel is that doing so would mean the Seahawks having to overhaul the entire left side of their line instead of one position, and that's something Cable would rather avoid if possible.
"My wish, my want, is to try and keep as much of it intact as possible," Cable said. "So if anyone's saying 'Well, why don't they move Joeckel out there?" Well, remember last year—you go back twelve months and I think there was too much of that. Nothing really we could handle then, it just had to be that way. But this year, we have choices. We have the opportunity to keep as much of it intact as we can. We will do that going forward."
Continuity just for continuity's sake might not always make sense, but in this case, Cable really likes what he has seen from his starting line in the first two preseason games.
"You watch our continuity, when they've played together, it has been really good," he said. "Early in San Diego and then that first half last week, pretty good football."
3. The competition at right guard is too close to call.
The Seahawks had Oday Aboushi starting at right guard in their preseason opener, then gave Mark Glowinski the start last week. Cable said it's currently still uncertain who will start this week, and for that matter when the season opens next month. The good news, Cable said, is that the two are both benefiting from that competition.
"Here we are, flipping a coin on Friday night," Cable said ." They're both after it, they're both doing well. I think it's elevated both of them, which I'm most pleased about. Hopefully, we'll get a signature on it Friday night."
4. The Seahawks are looking for Germain Ifedi to take another step forward in Friday's game.
After starting at guard last season, Germain Ifedi has made the move to right tackle in Year 2, and while he has done some good things thus far, the key for the former first-round pick is to continue building off of the progress he has made thus far.
"Good so far," Cable said of Ifedi's progress. "You know, I want to see the same jump I saw last week. That's what I've been looking for, that's his challenge this week. He's going to play against really good players Friday night. So, we'll get a pretty good indication if he's in fact improved the way we need him to."
5. The Seahawks are "very talented and very deep" at running back.
In addition to his work with the offensive line, Cable helps oversee the entire running game, so he has his eyes on more than just linemen, and so far he really likes what he has seen from Seattle's running backs.
"I think our running back group is really very talented and very deep," Cable said.
That answer came after he was specifically asked about a couple of Seattle's backs, including Eddie Lacy: "Big, big thumper. The first run the other night he sticks it up in there for 4 and punishes a guy, spins out and gets 5 more for a 9-yard run, it's pretty cool. I've seen him bounce the edge, you saw that the other night to our right-hand side, so it's exciting."
Look through the best photos from the Seahawks' Tuesday practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center while preparing for Friday night's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.